On my recent trip to Asheville, NC, I took a walking tour with a company called Hood Huggers International. The tour features the history of African-Americans in Asheville, as well as a look to the future of the community. The tours founder, Dewayne Burton, took me to an area called “The Block”. The block is an area of downtown Asheville that was once a thriving African-American Community. Burton is very involved with his community and is working hard to improve the lives of African=Americans, not just in Asheville but in the United States. He has created a new “green” book that features black owned businesses in Asheville and is hoping to expand the book. If you want to know more about my tour, you can listen to the Podcast here.
I grew up in Danville, Kentucky. Danville is located in central Kentucky, south of Lexington. It’s a small town loaded with history. Of course, growing up, I never paid attention to any of these things. Now, when I go back to visit family, I can’t help but seek these places out. I want to share with you some of the historic places and the places that hold meaning.
Constitution Square Historic Site was the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood. The site originally had a meeting house, jail, and courthouse. The cabins currently on the site are replicas of the originals.
Ephraim McDowell House
McDowell House Museum was home of the “the father of ovariotomy”. McDowell was the first to person to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. The story is fascinating. I recommend reading about it. Visit their website for more info.
While not technically a historic site, it’s definitely a landmark. Burke’s opened in the 1970s and is still going strong. With donuts, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, and more, there is sure to something to make everyone happy. I’m a big fan of the gingerbread men. My mouth is watering just thinking of them.
The courthouse was finished in 1862. The Italianate style building was erected to replace the original courthouse, which burned down. The large clock tower can be seen from just about every angle in town.
Danville Office Equipment
Another local landmark, Danville Office Equipment has been in it’s current location since 1975. They sell everything from pens to computers. They also have a service department that started out repairing old typewriters, but now offer service for copiers and printers. My father worked here for over 40 years. I worked there for several years myself.
I have been to many small towns in the south. See my Tuesday Trekkin’ blog for just a few of them. Danville is one of the few that still maintains that active hometown feel. Many towns are empty with closed up and shuttered shops and restaurants. It’s great to see a small town maintaining a vibrant, active downtown.
I did a year end review of my favorite and least favorite still life images. As promises here are my favorite and least favorite night images.
Favorite Night Photography
Night photography is my current obsession. As I mentioned in my America After Dark gallery. This image is from the Dragon Lights Festival. There is a color version of this and it’s nice. But I love the way the black and white makes it about the light and dark and highlights the shapes of the flowers and people.
A favorite of not just my night photography, but also my photos from Knoxville. The Tennessee Theatre marquee is lit up and people are walking through town. In the lower right corner is a young girl with a pink jacket, she makes this photo for me. I love subtle touches in photos.
The Chrysler Building takes center stage in this New York skyline photo. I took this from the observation deck on the Empire State Building. I had to squeeze myself in between people taking selfies and some lovers making out. But totally worth it!
The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN. I took this while wondering around downtown. I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye. So, I was headed back to the car. And there it was. The single person, the lone bicycle, and the shops all lit up for the night.
Least Favorite Night Photography
It’s not that I don’t like these images but I feel like they could be better.
I don’t like the stop sign or the car in this image. As we were leaving, I noticed a better angle and it’s been bugging me ever since. I think I will have to go back and get a better pic. Also, eat pizza!
I think I might like this better if shot a little closer to sunset, so the 1907 and the outline of the clock could be more pronounced. Yes, I could lighten it but that would produce an unnatural grainy look.
Thank you for visiting my most and least favorite list of night photography from this year. Feel free to share your own end of year blogs in the comments below!
Prints are available of all images in my Pixels store. Click here. You can also click on the image and it will take you directly to the store.
My current obsession is night photography. I love to see city lights after dark or small town lights. I never carry a tripod with me, so I shoot with a super high ISO or try to rest the camera on something. I use a Sony A7rII and it is great for shooting in low light with a minimum of grain. Although, I have night photos from around the world, this gallery is dedicated to America after dark.
Knoxville is my home town, so I have lots of images from here. Here are a few.
New York City
When I visited New York, I went alone. At first, I thought I might be too afraid to spend a lot of time out after dark, especially taking photos. But I got comfortable with it fairly quickly.
Want to see more photos from after dark, click here.
Feel free to comment and share your own images of America After Dark.
I got online and bought a ticket to the Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island tour for early Monday morning. I had read that mornings were the best time to go. I checked the subway map to plan my route. So, on Day 2 in New York City, I headed out bright and early, looking for breakfast.
Bumps in the Road
Did I mention that it was Labor Day? Holidays change everything. The streets were virtually empty and everything was closed. So, breakfast was a coffee and muffin from the only small market open.
At Penn Station, I discovered that there was construction on the line I needed to take to Battery Park. Battery Park is where Statue Cruises is located. So, the line that goes straight there, was closed. So, some helpful metro workers told me to take Line 2 to a different stop and get on the free shuttle that would go to Battery Park. At the stop, there was no shuttle and the sign said it would not arrive for another 30 minutes. According to my phone, I could walk there in 20. So, off I went. I took lots of photos on the way. Here are a few. It took me a little longer than 20 minutes. There was construction, thus closing the sidewalk and I had to take a detour.
Boat Rides and 195 Steps
On the boat over, I had a great view. But once we started getting close, people started crowding in front of me. I managed to snag a few shots before too many people came in.
I visited the Statue of Liberty first. I walked up 195 to the pedestal because the elevator was packed and full elevators are on my list of “probably not”. I made it up to the pedestal and got a great view of the city and the grounds below. If you go, you will have to get a locker. Be prepared for frustration and waiting in line for this. Either way, I’m glad I went. It was worth every step.
I and 50,000 other people decided it was time to get back on the boat and go to Ellis Island. By the time I made it off the boat and out of the crowd, I was pretty tired. But I walked around the place and took some photos.
Back in NYC
After disembarking at Battery Park, I found a kiosk selling cold beer and could not refuse. I bought a beer and walked around for a bit. Then I returned to the room for a long nap.
After my nap, I found an Indian place for dinner. It was delicious. The garlic naan was spot on.
After walking 11 miles and taking tons of photos, it was time to retire. The next day would be more walking, sweating, drinking, and photos.
When it was time to leave Providence (see Rhode Island or Bust), E dropped me at the station early because I did not know what to expect. Would it be like the airport? Would I have to remove my shoes and take out my electronics and shampoo? Would I get the joy of a pat down? Nope, none of that. They did have police walking around, watching for suspicious behavior, I suppose. That left me with some time to kill, so I went down and took some photos of the platforms. When it was time to board, I hopped on and grabbed a comfy seat. Coach seats on trains are nice and cushy. After everyone found a spot, no seat assignments here, we were off. I was headed to New York City, just me and my camera.
On the Train
I sat next to a very nice woman from Florida. Her daughters lived in New England and she was visiting them. She told me to visit the Public Library in New York. So, I added it to my list. There are several reasons to love the train. One of those is that you can have a conversation without everyone else in the whole place hearing what you say. It’s also easy to get up and move around. I visited the snack bar where the cashier told me about the time he visited East Tennessee and loved it. There’s also the views. I got to see so much of New England that I would not have seen otherwise. It made me want to visit the places I viewed from the train.
Made it NYC
The train pulled into Penn Station and I had a moment of what now? I had researched the location of my Airbnb and the exits were clearly marked, so I found my way out easily. The Airbnb was only 3 blocks from the station. I made my way there and there was a nice guy waiting to give me a key card and show me to my room. It was a private room with a shared bath and kitchen area. I had reservations about the shared bath, but it ended up not being an issue for me. I only ran into the other tenants once in the 4 days I was there.
The biggest problem with visiting a place like New York City without specific plans is there are so many options, it’s hard to decide what to do. I took a shower and relaxed for a bit before deciding to hit the streets in search of food and drink. It was Sunday and quite a few of the nearby places were already closed or closing soon. But I found Jack Doyle’s Irish Pub and Grill and planted myself at the bar. After a couple of perfectly poured Guinnesses and a delicious Caprese Salad, I was ready to go to bed and start again the next day.
Watch for Day 2! The next installment includes a trip to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, more beer, and lots of walking.
We recently took a quick trip to Johnson City, TN. It has been on our list for awhile because we love Yee-Haw beer. But we finally had a good reason to go. It was work related, so at least the gas was paid for!
Dinner and a Beer (or two)
The first place we went was, of course, Yee-Haw Brewing Company. They have a great in house bar and they share space with White Duck Taco Shop. Yay! Beer and food all in one handy place.
After eating, we decided to walk around downtown a bit and see what else is happening in Johnson City. As it turns out, not much. But it was a Sunday evening. We will try to go back on a Saturday and catch a show or something. Prints are available of the images below – here.
I had a hankering for ice cream but there did not seem to be any ice cream shops. I admit, we didn’t look really hard. We headed back to the White Duck to see what they had for dessert. They had two desserts and both were yummy!
We will definitely go back to Johnson City, Tennessee!
I don’t know why people are so fascinated by signs. But most people I know seem drawn to them. Especially if they are old or vintage. When I travel, I find myself drawn to them. Whether it’s a shop sign, a large sign, a small sign, or a road sign. I will take a photo of it. Some signs tell a story, a history of its location. Even if its just a one word sign, the color and shape can say a great deal about the shop or restaurant or even the area in general.
Maybe people are drawn to a certain sign because it’s got a place in their memory. Maybe they drove by that sign on the way to school every day. Or maybe it represents a happy memory of weekend trips to town.
Signs from Around the World
Some images of the courthouse in downtown Danville, KY. I grew up in this small town in central Kentucky. It’s easy to overlook places in your home town. I don’t remember the courthouse looking quite so impressive when I live there.
Early Morning Sun
Early Sunday morning is a great time to visit small town America. The streets are virtually empty. If you time it just right, you’ll get to hear the church bells ring. But since it was in the early morning, the sun was not in an ideal place. I decided to play it up a bit as the golden light shines through the windows.
Prints of these images are available here.